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Senate Democratic Caucus

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Democratic Caucus of the United States Senate, sometimes referred to as the Democratic Conference, is the formal organization of all senators who are part of the Democratic Party in the United States Senate. For the makeup of the 116th Congress, the conference additionally includes two independent senators (Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Angus King of Maine) who formally caucus with the Democrats for the purpose of committee assignments and structural organization, bringing the current total to 47 members. The central organizational front for Democrats in the senate, its primary function is communicating the party's message to all of its members under a single banner.

Current leadership

Effective with the start of the 116th Congress, the conference leadership is as follows:


The conference was formally organized on March 6, 1903, electing a chair to preside over its members and a secretary to keep minutes. Until that time, this caucus was often disorganized, philosophically divided and had neither firm written rules of governance nor a clear mission.


Since Oscar Underwood's election in 1920, the chair of the Senate Democratic Caucus has also concurrently served as the floor leader as part of an unwritten tradition.

Dates Senator State
December 1873 – March 4, 1877 John W. Stevenson Kentucky
March 4, 1877 – March 4, 1881 William A. Wallace Pennsylvania
March 4, 1881 – March 4, 1885 George H. Pendleton Ohio
March 4, 1885 – May 3, 1890 James B. Beck Kentucky
May 3, 1890 – April 1898 Arthur Gorman Maryland
April 1898 – March 4, 1899 David Turpie Indiana
December 1899 – March 4, 1903 James Kimbrough Jones Arkansas
March 4, 1903 – June 4, 1906 Arthur Gorman Maryland
June 4, 1906 – March 4, 1907 Joseph Blackburn Kentucky
December 1907 – December 1909 Charles Culberson Texas
December 1909 – March 4, 1911 Hernando Money Mississippi
April 1911 – March 4, 1913 Thomas S. Martin Virginia
March 4, 1913 – March 4, 1917 John W. Kern Indiana
March 4, 1917 – November 12, 1919 Thomas S. Martin Virginia
November 12, 1919 – April 27, 1920 Gilbert Hitchcock
April 27, 1920 – December 3, 1923 Oscar Underwood Alabama
December 3, 1923 – July 14, 1937 Joe Robinson Arkansas
July 14, 1937 – January 3, 1949 Alben W. Barkley Kentucky
January 3, 1949 – January 3, 1951 Scott W. Lucas Illinois
January 3, 1951 – January 3, 1953 Ernest McFarland Arizona
January 3, 1953 – January 3, 1961 Lyndon Johnson Texas
January 3, 1961 – January 3, 1977 Mike Mansfield Montana
January 3, 1977 – January 3, 1989 Robert Byrd West Virginia
January 3, 1989 – January 3, 1995 George J. Mitchell Maine
January 3, 1995 – January 3, 2005 Tom Daschle South Dakota
January 3, 2005 – January 3, 2017 Harry Reid Nevada
January 3, 2017 – present Chuck Schumer New York

Vice chair

After the victory of Democrats in the midterm elections of 2006, an overwhelming majority in the conference wanted to reward Chuck Schumer, then the chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, with a position in the leadership hierarchy.[citation needed] In response, then-Democratic Leader Harry Reid created the position of vice-chair when Democrats formally took control in 2007. Schumer ascended to Reid's position following his retirement after the 2016 elections. The position was then split, with one co-chair awarded to Mark Warner and the other awarded to Elizabeth Warren.



  • Donald A. Ritchie (ed) (1999). Minutes of the Senate Democratic Conference: Fifty-eighth through Eighty-eighth Congress, 1903-1964. Washington, D.C. GPO. Available online in PDF or text format.

External links

This page was last edited on 20 July 2020, at 21:26
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